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[Pages 183-188]

Zionist Organisation Events in Our City[a]
(Collected from the “Ha'Tzfira” Newspaper in 1918)

The Editors

About “Tzeirei Ha'Mizrachi

At the beginning of winter, a small group of “Tzeirei Mizrachi”, which now numbers forty–five members, was founded by Rabbi Zlotnik of Gąbin. This group has now instituted Talmud lessons. At the inauguration of the lessons, warm and exalted speeches were given by the Chief Rabbi Reb Nachum Asz and the Chairman of the “Mizrachi” Union, Mr. Koblenz, regarding the role of “Tzeirei Mizrachi”, in general, and the importance of Talmud study in particular. They also intend to institute Hebrew language lessons. The number of members is steadily increasing. Youngsters planted a tree in “Herzl's Forest” named after Rabbi Zlotnik.

Ha'Tzfira” #5 (dated 31/01/1918)


About “Ha'Mizrachi”

The “Ha'Mizrachi” Union in our city is developing in a desirable manner. In the few months since the union was approved by the authorities, the temporary council leading it has been able to secure around 120 members, for “Mizrachi”, from among important townspeople and has rented a spacious complex for “Mizrachi” in the city centre, in which there is a large hall for reading and assemblies, as well as a synagogue for “Ha'Mizrachi” members, in which they gather daily and every evening. A sizeable group of members learn a Talmud lesson. “Ha'Mizrachi” has also founded the “Tzeirei Zion” Union (the allusion is apparently to “Tzeirei Mizrachi”), whose members number fifty and they, too, have set themselves daily two–hour Talmud lessons and are now striving to set themselves Hebrew lessons for the members. The “Ha'Mizrachi” council stands ready to aid and support them in anything possible.


This week, “Ha'Mizrachi's” temporary council called a general assembly of members. The assembly was opened by Chairman of the temporary council, the member of the central committee, Mr. Józef Szymon Koblenz, and, with warm and energetic words, he urged those gathered to do and act for the Zionist ideal in general and particularly for the goals of “Ha'Mizrachi”. Afterwards, a report of the council's activities, until today, was read. After the general assembly approved the account of income and expenses until today, as well as the budget for next year of four thousand marks, they went on to elect a new council and an “Audit Committee”. Chosen were Messrs. Józef Szymon Koblenz, Abram Henoch Finkelsztajn, Anczel Warszawski, Szmul Goldsztajn, Izrail Plocker, Jakob Majer Grinfeld, Izrail Menachem Zilberberg, Chaim Zvi Kon, Chaim Weksler, and Szlojme Prawer. The “Audit Committee” will comprise Mordka Sudowicz, Zvi Berliner and Jakob Cygler.

Ha'Tzfira” #8 (dated 07/027/1918)

Dr Meir Klumel's Visit to Częstochowa

On Tuesday of last week, the Vice–Chairman of the Central Council in Poland, Dr Klumel, stayed in our city. At the meeting, which was held in his honour at the Zionist centre with the participation of the city's notables, the honourable guest lectured on the current status of the Zionist movement in all countries and on the Zionist ideal, which will materialise before long. He also explained the Zionist Organisation's stance regarding the question of Poland's Jews. He later spoke about the Dr Jechiel Tschlenow z”l and called on the assembled for organised and unified work towards the Zionist ideal.


Mourning for Dr Jechiel Tschlenow

On Wednesday, the city's Zionist Council held a special meeting, with the participation of the councils of all the Zionist unions in our city, to confer together regarding arrangement of a day of mourning in commemoration of our exalted leader Dr Tschlenow z”l. It was decided to inscribe the name of the deceased in the Golden Book; that all members of the organisation conduct themselves in mourning until the end of the shloishim [30 days after the death] and to designate Thursday, 2nd Adar [14th February], as a day of mourning, following this program: at noon, studies will end in all the secondary and public schools and the different cheders. At 4 p.m., a memorial service for the deceased will be held in the city's Old Synagogue. From 4 until 7 in the evening, all shops will be closed; at 8 p.m., a public mourning assembly will be held at “Harmonia” hall.

And, on this day, our opponents, indeed, realised that the Zionist ideal has sprouted deep roots amongst the wide ranks of Jews in our city. “Tzeirei Zion” members worked with great devotion. Studies ended at 12 noon in all secondary, public schools and cheders and, in Polish schools too, Jewish students were released from school at the same time. When the city clock struck the fourth hour, all Jews closed their shops and, a few moments later, all the Jewish shops, and also those of the orthodox, were closed. The Jews closed their shops and went to the synagogue for the memorial service. It was possible to see, on all the streets, men and women hurrying to the synagogue and children from different schools thronged in processions to the synagogue, until it filled and was too small to contain all the people waiting in the street. A crowd of six thousand filled the building. The cantor, Mr. Rozental, with the choir, sang psalms and said the prayer “El Mole Rachamim” [God full of Mercy; funeral prayer]. After the service, Rabbi Józef Szymon Koblenz, a member of the “Ha'Mizrachi” organisation's Central Council, delivered a sermon about the value of our great loss and, with passionate words, he called upon the congregation to continue the deceased's work. He particularly urged the youth and students to follow the deceased's path. At the end, the cantor, accompanied by the choir and the entire congregation, sang “Hatikvah”.

At eight in the evening, a large public assembly was held at “Harmonia” hall. The hall was draped in black. A picture of the deceased doctor, framed with a blue–and–white Star of David, draped in black and surrounded by lit candles, made a fierce impression on all those gathered. The Chairman of the City Council, Mr. Zandsztajn, the engineer Mr. Pinchas Ratner, Mr. Michał Grejniec and Mr. J. Szwayger gave speeches. The assembly was concluded with the singing of Zionist songs. A sum of two hundred marks was collected for the inscription of the deceased's name in the Golden Book and one hundred marks' worth of “Keren Kayemeth” vouchers were sold.

Ha'Tzfira” #8 (dated 28/02/1918)


The Elections for the Community Council

On the 18th and 19th of this month [Nisan; 31st March and 1st April 1918], elections for the governance of the community were held in Częstochowa. From the 703 persons who have the right to vote, 339 voted. The Unified Electoral Committee list received 262 votes; the Assimilationist party – only 77 votes. As members of the community leadership, the following were elected: Henryk Markusfeld (Zionist), Szmul Goldsztajn (Mizrachi), Abram Hamburger (no party). As candidates [?], the following were elected: Berisz Horowicz (Zionist), Natan Gerichter (Zionist), Izrail Mendel Zilberberg (Mizrachi) and Natan Rozencwajg (no party).

Ha'Tzfira” #16–17 (dated 25/04/1918)


Częstochowa Aiding War Victims in the Land of Israel

In the list of donations in aid of our brothers, the war victims in the Land of Israel and the number of signatures on the proclamation regarding the Land of Israel for the People of Israel which were collected between 17th Tamuz and 9th Av 5677 [7th–28th July 1917] by the Zionist Organisation in Poland, the city of Częstochowa appears with the sum of 1502.89 marks and 3,843 signatures.

Ha'Tzfira” #21 (dated 23/05/1918)


Częstochowa's Donations to “Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael” in [the first] Half of 5678 [1917–1918]

In the general report of proceedings of the Central Bureau of “Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael” in Poland, between 1st Tishrei [17th September 1917] and 1stt Nisan 5678 [14th March 1918], – the city Częstochowa appears as follows [in German marks]:

Vouchers and telegrams M100.00
Self [–imposed (?)] tax M75.75
Settling the Land of Israel M271.56
Redeeming the land M79.76
War victims M71.40
Herzl's forest M580.00
Estate donations M40.00
Houses M446.89
Boxes M47.92
Diverse donations M108.23
Blessings for Rosh Hashone 5678 M133.25
Total: M1,954.76

Ha'Tzfira” #24 (dated 13/06/1918)


Ha'Mizrachi's” Share in the Aforementioned Activity

During the said period, the proceedings from the Zionist Orthodox Federation “Mizrachi” in Częstochowa were: [for] settling the Land of Israel 58.61, vouchers and telegrams 20.00, Herzl's forest 12.00, diverse donations 166.31; in total: 256.92.

(According to that same paper)


The Memorial Service for Rabbi Shmuel Mohilever z”l

Częstochowa: On 17th Sivan [28th May], we held a public assembly for the 20th anniversary of the death of Reb Shmuel Mohilever's z”l, with the participation of Izaak Rywkind fromŁódź, who lectured on the subject “The Life and Achievements of Reb Shmuel Mohilever”. The great hall was filled with many hundreds of people and a tremendous impression was left on them. As a token of gratitude, ten trees were planted in the orator's honour at “Herzl's forest” in [the] “Częstochowa Tzeirei Mizrachi Park”.

Ha'Tzfira” #30 (dated 25/07/1918)


New Council for “Ha'Mizrachi”

On 16th Tamuz [26th June], we held a general assembly. To the new council were elected Messrs. Oberman, Gold, Wiewiorka, Koblenz and Granek. We have already gone to work. We have instituted Talmud, bible, Hebrew language and Jewish history lessons. Every Saturday, Mr. Józef Szymon Koblenz, a member of the Central Council in Warsaw, teaches members a lesson in Talmudic literature. Afterwards, members organise a discussion on diverse topics: Zionism, sciences and general [affairs].

(According to that same paper)


Mourning the Death of Dr T. Herzl

On 20th Tamuz [30th June], we participated with the Zionists in the organisation of a Mourning Rally for the death of Dr Herzl z”l. On that day, we ourselves collected more than three hundred marks for “Herzl's Forest”.

(According to that same paper)


Memorial Service for the Death of the Prodigy the Netzi''v [acronym for Naftali Zvi Yehuda Berlin] of Vałožyn

In accordance with our decision regarding the conference inŁódź, on Menachem–Av 28th [6th August], we wish to hold a public popular assembly with the participation of local speakers in memory of the Netzi'v z”l.

(According to that same paper)


Synagogue for the Zionist Union in Częstochowa

A synagogue for the Zionist Union has now been established in our city, on the First Aleja, #1. The building is very beautiful. All who worship regularly in this building take it upon themselves to donate a shekel and also to join our union as a member. Every Saturday, lectures on Zionist matters will be read.

Preparations are being made to collect sums for the “Tschlenow Fund” and, to this purpose, Rabbi Zlotnik of Gąbin and others have visited our city.

Ha'Tzfira” #33 (dated 15/08/1918)


Honours for a Polish Catholic Bishop

The head of the Jewish community and the Rabbi of Częstochowa, presented the Catholic priest Fulman, who was appointed a bishop, with a magnificent address in which the Jewish community in Częstochowa expresses its gratitude to this bishop for the acts of charity which he performed for Jews.

Ha'Tzfira” #44 (dated 31/10/1918)


The Zionists' Stance in Community Matters

In Częstochowa, on Wednesday 23rd Kislev [8th December], a meeting was held at the community centre concerning the creation of a council alongside the community leadership. The Zionists' counsels demanded that the council be founded on a base of acknowledgement of the nationalist principles. The assimilationists and the orthodox, who participated in this meeting, did not approve the Zionists' proposal and, therefore, the Zionists and their sympathizers left the meeting and 24 counsels of the assimilationists and orthodox remained, from whom a 20–member council was appointed.

HaTzfira” #50 (dated 12/12/1918)

Original footnote:

  1. These segments were collected by Mr. M. Ch. Tiberg from the “Ha'Tzfira” newspaper of 1918 and they are published verbatim, as they were printed in the day. Return

[Pages 189-192]

A Bunch of Flowers
(in commemoration of “Keren Hayesod” Public Figures in Częstochowa)

Naftali Grabowski

During ten uninterrupted years, I visited Częstochowa as the representative of “Keren Hayesod's” central bureau in Warsaw.

Every year, I met there with many people to conduct the annual collection for “Keren Hayesod”.

There, I became friends with many public figures dedicated to this holy enterprise and I wish to take note of some among them, whom I particularly loved and esteemed, and they are:

Jechiel Jochimowicz – a wealthy Jewish brick factory owner, who read and studied; well–versed in literature, he also wrote in excellent Hebrew.

He was the chairman of “Keren Hayesod” in Częstochowa and this appointment was, for him, not a crown with which to adorn himself, but a task with which he engaged daily with commitment, as if he were doing it in order to receive payment in this world.

His entire focus was always on “Keren Hayesod's” affairs. He paid special attention that the bills given to it be cashed on time and, if someone among the donors fell behind in his payments, Jochimowicz did not waste time, but went to him to demand what was due and continued demanding until he collected the “debt”.

When the time for the annual collection for “Keren Hayesod” came, he became literally “swift like the deer” [Pirkei Avot 5, M.20]. From dawn till dusk, he acted personally and made others act as well.

But Jochimowicz also had a “dangerous rival” in this work and he was the famous Zionist public figure, – Abram Gerszonowicz who, upon hearing that on one of the “collection” days Jochimowicz had found more donors than had he, he became “mighty like the lion” [also there, same Mishna], working relentlessly to continue and receive “first place” in the practical results of the fundraising.

This contest, in the city of commerce and industry Częstochowa, was given the title customary in the world of commerce – “konkurentn” [competitors]. But this “competition” was in heaven's name, which increases its doers' honour!

There was another “perfect pair” in the city. They were:

Szmul Horowicz – the son of a renowned industrialist in Częstochowa, an engineer by trade, who was the permanent Secretary for “Keren Hayesod” in his city.


Szmul Horowicz, may God avenge his blood


Once “Keren Hayesod's” fundraiser had been announced in Częstochowa, the management of “Horowicz and Partners Factory” already knew that its “control” over this young engineer had ceased and that, from then on, he would dedicate himself entirely to his service as representative of “Keren Hayesod”. He fulfilled its “orders” to the letter (the pain and sorrow are very great when mentioning that this young public figure was shot by the Nazis in his parents' factory yard, back in 1942).

A positive mention should also be made of Reb Juda Engel, the Chairman of “Ha'Mizrachi” in Częstochowa, who despite being already in old age and a debilitated man, spared no effort and did not even consider the heart condition from which he suffered and would scramble up the stairs of the top floors to find supporters for the enterprise of building the Land of Israel!

There were, in this city, two other Zionist public workers, who were nicknamed “the happy couple” and who were really a kind of “match from heaven”.

When collection days for “Keren Hayesod” arrived, they joined forces and worked as a team for fundraising success.

Although all year round they both had different views in their public lives, for “Keren Hayesod” they became one entity and did much for the collection's success.

The first, Reb Józef Blechsztajn, one of “Ha'Mizrachi's” public figures, was a pious Jew, adorned with a well–groomed beard and dressed with long vestments, in the Chassidic manner. His “other half” was Dr Rozen, a scholar in the European style and also with Jewish learning. For the fundraising cause, these two became literally “one flesh”. They would run about together from house to house, from the afternoon hours until late at night, making souls for “Keren Hayesod”.

Nothing deterred them from going. They did not heed the great cold, the snow and even the torrential rains that sometimes fell when they “went out to work”.

(All those who I've mentioned and, with them, dozens of trusted public workers, who always dreamed of their personal emigration to the Land of Israel, did not have that privilege. They were burned alive together with the millions of our martyrs in Poland.

May these few words, which I have dedicated to their memory, serve as a modest bunch of flowers on their non–existent “graves”, to their holy dust that ascended to heaven!

Glory and honour to their good deeds and holy memory!)

Naftali Grabowski was one of the first activists for “Keren Hayesod” in Poland, first as manager of its bureau for the Wilna region and, later, as counsellor–organiser of the national bureau in Warsaw.

Częstochowa was one of the important cities that he visited annually. He was saved together with his family, immigrated to Palestine in 1940 and settled in Tel–Aviv. When news came of the annihilation of Polish Jewry, he was struck by serious heart decease that put an end to his magnificent and very active life.

The deceased wrote this article in May 1944 in Yiddish and was first published in the book “Tshenstokhover Yidn”.

The Editors


Seated (first row) from right to left: Mrs. Kremski, Mrs. Cygler, Mrs. Weksler, Dr Mering, N. Grabowski, L. Joffe, J. Jochimowicz, Dr A. Bram, Felix Szapira, Ch. Weksler, L. Kopinski, M. Horowicz and N. Dawid Berliner


[Pages 193-196]

Zionist Youth in Częstochowa

Sz. Oderberg

In the 1930's, the “Zionist Youth” organisation operated amongst the local young people.

Its origins were in the organisation of young students and graduates of the Jewish high school – its pupils formed the nucleus and leadership of “Zionist Youth”.

As in other cities, Częstochowa, in 1929, saw the rise of the youth organisation “Herzliya” Following the national merger of “Ha'Shomer Ha'Leumi” [The National Guardian], “Herzliya”, “Hebrew Youth”became “Zionist Youth”.

At first, the youth gathered in the Jewish High School, with the full approval of the high school's management (its Director, Mr. Prost, came to Israel, became a teacher in Tel–Aviv and, afterwards, the director of the high school in Rehovot. He died in Israel) and its teachers, [who] were Dr Mering, who perished in Treblinka, Janowski z”l and Professor Dr Ch. Z. Hirszberg (now lector at Bar–Ilan university) – as well as leaders of the local Zionist organisation: Dr Bram, J. Gerichter, Icek, Częstochowski and others.

Over the course of the years, “Zionist Youth” broadened its activities beyond the school walls and operated, for some time, at the Zionist Organisation building and at various halls in the city – at the Viner, Imich [and] Gostynski buildings and at the abandoned “Oron” factory, in which a few youth organisations were based.

It was then a period of Zionistic awakening among the Jews of Poland, but the youth, that had been brought up to a bourgeois life, was distant from political activities.

A section of this youth amused themselves with ideas about “Weltschmerz” [Ger.; world–weariness]. The working youth warmed to socialist ideas and were not interested in the problematics of the Land of Israel and the youth, who were studying, were mostly unorganised and only “fulfilled” their immigration if their parents emigrated.

The great merit of the “Zionist Youth” was in instilling the idea of the Redemption and practical Zionism in student youth and, through it, to include wider youth circles of both assimilationist and ultraorthodox families. Even in homes in which Zionism was viewed as a good and beneficial idea, it is good only for others.

The bourgeois Zionist Youth found, at its beginning, a way to the hearts of many novices, from all social strata.

The different activities of the “Zionist Youth” were mainly informational lectures: on the history of Zionism, Jewish history, sociology, education problems, the Land of Israel, the individual and society etc.. They incorporated educational tools, similar to those of the World Scouting Movement – summer camps, marches, troop meetings etc..

Those who remember the conditions of political activity in the Diaspora, in a hostile environment, can appreciate the value of the “Zionist Youth” activity.


The leadership of the “Zionist Youth” in Częstochowa
In the picture (among the others): J. Horowicz, B. Tempelhof, J. Tenenbaum, Sz. Oderberg, Sz. Kamrat, C. Grauman, D. Kartuz and M. Szajn


At the head of the “Zionist Youth” in our city, stood a “triumvirate”: Szlojme Oderberg – now in Israel (Holon), Jakob Horowicz z”l and Dawid Kartuz z”l, and, over the course of the years, after the changing of the guard, new leaders were appointed as leaders: Mojsze Szajn – now in Israel (Kfar Bilu), Szmul Kamrat (Ramat–Gan), Juda Tenenbaum (Holon), Zvi Grauman, Basia Tempelhof, Nechemie Blechsztajn, Miryam Czarnylas and Miryam Pelc who have passed away.


A class of the “Zionist Youth” in Częstochowa
In the picture (among others): Sz. Oderberg, Sz. Altman, Sz. Braun, T. Danziger, M. Horowicz, B. Tempelhof, Laks, M. Moszynski, M. Czarnylas, L. Kokosówka, M. Rozen and Sz. Szajnweksler


The “Zionist Youth” engaged, with full enthusiasm, in the raising of funds and was, for many years, “the champion of youth” in collecting donations for Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, whose [local] branch was, initially, by Sz. Oderberg and J. Tenenbaum.

Under the influence of the movement's indoctrination and aspiring to become pioneers, many trainees went to training centres. Among those going to the training point in Łódź were Izaak Chawes and Basia Tempelhof z”l, and, to distinguish the living [from the deceased], Chana Stopnicki – now in Israel, in kibbutz Usha – Ester Kenigsberg (kibbutz Negba), M. Ch. Szajn, Sara Grauman (Tel–Aviv), God Czubatka (Holon) and Ester Bratt (Rishon Lezion).

K. Zuberman and Miryam Pelc z”l trained in Cieszyn and, for agricultural training, Miryam Czarnylas z”l went to Krajowice.

The agricultural farm at Czechowice (next to Bielsko [–Biała]) was initially run by Dawid Kartuz and, later, by Szlojme Oderberg.

(The results of the educational activity were seen even in the horrendous and difficult period of the Nazi occupation. The “Zionist Youth” trainees maintained an internal connection amongst themselves and encouraged the Jewish public to take a proud stance. They operated underground in Częstochowa and in other places as well (Treblinka), together with the rest of the movements and displayed a social maturity, as they were taught in our movement.)


A group of General Zionist pioneers in 1937


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